Novel automated process for aspheric surfaces

R. G. Bingham, D. D. Walker, D. H. Kim, D. Brooks, R. Freeman, D. Riley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

142 Citations (Scopus)


We report on the development of a novel industrial process, embodied in a new robotic polishing machine, for automatically grinding and polishing aspheric optics. The machine is targeted at meeting the growing demand for inexpensive axially symmetric but aspherical lenses and mirrors for industry and science, non-axisymmetric and conformal optics of many kinds, the planarization of silicon wafers and associated devices, and for controlling form and texture in other artifacts including prosthetic joints. We describe both the physics and the implementation of the process. It is based on an innovative pressurised tool of variable effective size, spun to give high removal rate. The tool traverse and orientation are orchestrated in a unique (and patented) way to avoid completely the characteristic fast peripheral-velocity and centre-zero left by conventional spinning tools. The pressurised tooling supports loose abrasive grinding and polishing, plus a new bound-abrasive grinding process, providing for a wide range of work from coarse profiling to fine polishing and figuring. Finally we discuss the critical control, data handling and software challenges in the implementation of the process, contrast the approach with alternative technologies, and present preliminary results of polishing trials.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent Developments in Lens Design and Optical Systems Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Symposium on Optical Science and Technology
EditorsRobert E. Fischer, Warren J. Smith, R. Barry Johnson, William H. Swantner
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2000
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Symposium on Optical Science and Technology: Current Developments in Lens Design and Optical Systems Engineering - San Diego, United States
Duration: 30 Jul 20004 Aug 2000

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Optical Science and Technology
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Internet address


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